N – Names



“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”   W.C. Fields

“Any child can tell you that the sole purpose of a middle name is so he can tell when he is really in trouble.”  Dennis Frakes

“A name pronounced is the recognition of the individual to whom it belongs.  He who can pronounce my name aright, he can call me, and is entitled to my love and service.”   Henry David Thoreau


What’s in a name?  What does your name mean?  Why did you receive your name… is it a family name or did someone open a book and say “THAT name looks good!”  What does your name say about you… or does it?

As a child, I asked my mom where my name came from and she told me that she and dad found my name on a Welsh map, after all my dad’s family is from Wales.  The problem is that I can’t find any town in Wales named Gwynn.  Have you ever tried to pronounce Welsh words?  All through school, teachers would look at my name, stutter, and attempt to sound out my name.  They had never seen a name without a vowel in it, let alone a Welsh name.  Then years later when I took Latin I learned about “feminine” and “masculine” words and endings for names.  It turns out my name is spelled the Welsh masculine way.  It is too bad no one gave mom and dad that information! I receive correspondence to Mr. Gwynn constantly.

But I am lucky if my worst problem is that people can’t pronounce or spell my name.  I still laugh as I wonder WHY parents give children some of these crazy names.  Years ago, while working for a bank, one of my customers was named Olive Pit.  I had the worst time not cracking up when I saw her.  Then when I worked for a Title Company, I had to review the documents for Harry Butz.  I had to make sure the documents had his “ass” covered for his home loan.  Tell me… WHY do parents do these things to their children?

Finally, I have a lovely little granddaughter whose initials spell “BRP!”  Some day she is going to rip a good one for her parents!  I’ll say… I TOLD YOU SO!!



About Gwynn Rogers

After 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the fields of real estate, high tech, and corporate travel, Gwynn has moved on to the career of “Grandma.” When not teaching her granddaughters an extensive vocabulary of “alley-oop-boop, ups-a-daisy, cowabunga or bummer”, Gwynn can be found hunting for mentors for the Kitsap Youth Mentoring Consortium, or chasing her fantasies on her treadmill. Gwynn currently freelances for magazines.
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32 Responses to N – Names

  1. Oh, yeah, she’ll tell them a few things for those initials, but maybe, just maybe, she’ll accepted it with a smile. 🙂 I like your name. I thought it unique when I first met you, but before long, you were Gwynn, and that was it. A good friend.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Actually, I forgot to add that in Welsh my name means “white, or pure.” My skin is definitely white-white with freckles… I’m the one who looked like a lobster on the California beaches. But, I’m far from pure! 😉

      As for my granddaughter’s name, it will be many years yet before it occurs to her what her initials mean. Maybe by then she won’t blink an eye. My eldest granddaughter’s initials are SSS and that totally horrified me. My daughter didn’t understand why. So it is interesting what names and initials mean to various people and ages.

      Now, I am curious is Silvia the name you were born with since you come from another country? Your name adapts so well to your surroundings. I love it… but I think the world of you too!! You are a special lady. Thanks for being a friend.

      • Aww, thank sGwynn. I am so happy to have connected with you, and cherish our friendship. Yes, Silvia is my given name. Letter y is not very popular in Romania, hence it’s spelled with a i — Silvia, although many people write Sylvia, which is okay with me. Your name is lovely in its uniqueness, and great meaning to it.

  2. Susan Scott says:

    Lovely post Gwynn, I truly am laughing!
    Loved your quotes too, very special.
    My sister was christened Debora Jane, but she was always called Jane. At the age of about 30 she and my mother visited someone (my sis was not a happy person at that time) who said she must be called by her given name i.e. Debora. Her life seemed to change for the better … of course, this change to Debora was not easy for me so from then on she is Sis.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      It is interesting what names mean to people. With the name, Jane, I immediately think of the term “Plain Jane.” Maybe your sister enjoys being more distinctive with the name Debra.

      Names are so interesting to me… the history behind them or why we are named the way we are. Or like my client, Harry Butz, I totally feel sorry for the man, but I still laugh.

      Thanks for laughing along with me Susan.

      • Susan Scott says:

        She’s be mad if she saw Debora spelt incorrectly! There is an ‘o’ in her name and no ‘h’ and woe betide if you call her Debby or Debbie.
        Some years ago when I was in Cape Town visiting, some friends came to visit them. Sis introduced me as her sister Susan. He said how lovely to meet you Sue. I said, my name’s Susan. Well he packed up. When he first met my sister years before and was introduced to her, he said nice to meet you Debby. My name is Debora she said.

        • Gwynn Rogers says:

          OOps! Spelling names correctly is important… I know, so I apologize to Debora for misspelling it. Like my name, it is spelled numerous ways. Actually, I think I even mispronounce my name as it should be like “lynn’ only with a G in the beginning. I pronounce my name more the English Gwen way. Too many years of people not being able to pronounce a Welsh name.

          I’m glad you and your sister stand up for your names!

          • Susan Scott says:

            I call you Gwynn – as in grin. 🙂 🙂 🙂 But interesting you say Gwen… since when?

          • Gwynn Rogers says:

            Your pronunciation of Gwynn via grin is more appropriate and correct, than the Gwen. Like I mentioned too many people over the years, including me didn’t know how to pronounce my name correctly.

            Also, for some sunny reason my blog decided to not let me reply to you. I hope you receive this.

  3. pat garcia says:

    Very nice, Gwynn. I remember when I first posted on one of your blog articles and I misspelled your name. You were very sweet about it and I’m thankful for that. That incident though made me more aware of names and what they mean. I looked up my on name and was surprised at the meaning.

    So names mean a lot and they indicate a lot.
    Thank you for sharing your insights on names.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      People constantly misspell my name, or spell it the English Gwen instead of the Welsh way. There is part of me that wants to RANT when people misspell my name, but on the other hand it happens constantly so I just have to go with the flow. One of the gals in my writer’s group here constantly misspells my name even when she responds to me where I have clearly added my name to my correspondence. That does drive me mad as I feel that she is being disrespectful. She’s not… she’s just not paying attention… butttttt!

      Since you are there in Germany, I imagine you run into some rather interesting names too. It would be interesting to learn the significance of those names. As I told Silvia, my name means “white or pure.” I’m curious what meaning go with other names.

      Thanks Pat for commenting. I hope you are taking care of yourself!!

  4. Lynda says:

    Well my name is not spelled the traditional way. When I am asked what my name is it has transitioned into Lyndawithay.
    Visiting from a-z.


  5. I wonder the same thing. Celebrities seem the worse for giving their kids the strangest names. Some seem like a tall bill to fill for a small person, you know? Can you imagine the impact this after a child is an adult? Other people then judge you by your name along. I did not know that Gwynn was a masculine name, but I don’t know much about the feminine and masculine forms of words. When I hear the name Gwynn I automatically think of a girl, but I live in the states and maybe that’s why. lol As for my name, my grandma told me I was named after her good friend, but my mother said they named me Cathy just because they liked it. I always thought it was just an ordinary name with little pizazz, but nowadays I like it just fine. It suits me well.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Thanks Cathy for visiting. If you Google “Gwynn” you will find men as well as women with that name. I was surprised too. Actually, until recently I had NEVER run into ANY other Gwynn/Gwen but lately they are popping out of the woodwork. It is ME…it fits.

  6. This is a great post! Since we started this challenge together, I’ve been curious about your name.

    My mother was named from a romance rag that my grandma liked. It’s “Lewellyn,” and this is typically a more masculine spelling of the name. Her grandpa nicknamed her Bea, and it stuck.

    My first name is Beth (from Little Women), but when I was 33 I decided I felt more like a Nadine (my middle name), so I switched it. Fortunately, my family was fine with it!

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Lewellyn is Welsh also. Do you have Welsh heritage?

      Years ago my mom was born Shirley. She had a dear aunt named Jaco (it was a last name). My mom decided SHE at age 9 that she wanted to be named Jaco too, so her parents made it the French spelling. My mom’s name was changed to Jacquot. The change messed up the genealogy search because they didn’t know what happened to Shirley and there was no record of Jacquot being born.

      Thanks Nadine. I enjoy our chats.

  7. When I was in high school there was a science teacher named Mr. Mus. He had a little girl. Guess what they named her..Mary Chris. So her name is Mary Chris Mus. Or at least it was. She’s probably grown up and married by now.

  8. I could write a whole blog post in comment to this one, Gwynn. First springs to mind the Oprah Winfrey line at the end of the movie, “The Butler” about her new granddaughter’s name. Sat. Night Live did one about 20 years ago on names — a role call of black students –Gynelotrimin, Cunilingus, and so on.

    I was given both my parents’ middle names (Carol Roberta). I thought of my daughter’s name, Kellie Anne, when I was in high school listening to radio deejay whose last name was Kelly. My mother, who had a very English upbringing, asked me why I would want to give my daughter an Irish name. Oh, I don’t know, I just like Irish names — and Irish poets and lyrical prose. Two years ago I discovered that my paternal great-great grandparents came from Ireland.

    I did not know that the Welsh language uses masculine and feminine. When the Pennsylvania Railroad built its line heading into the countryside west out of Philadelphia, to attract riders and developers, they gave their train stations Welsh names — Wynnewood, Bala Cynwyd, Bryn Mawr, Ardmore, Narberth…. (I thound like I’m lithping.) This is area, well-built up for generations now, is known as the Philadelphia Main Line.

    This was a fun post. Thanks, Gwynn.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Let me put it to you this way about the Welsh language… the female Gwynn is typically Gwynne or Gwynneth. The masculine form of my name is AS I spell Gwynn. Also, Gwynn typically is a last name. Although with that said the Welsh repeat names as my grandfather’s name: Edward O. Edwards. The name usually indicates the son of some form of worker, but I have no clue what my grandfather’s name would mean.

      I can see I would have to move to Philadelphia to learn how to speak and spell Welsh! 😉

      • Growing up in those western Philadelphia suburbs did help, Gwynn. The Welsh names seem perfectly natural to me. And the area looks like Wales — green rolling hills. Beautiful.

        Another anecdote: My first childhood playmate was Blythe Danner. She lived across the street from me until we were about 7. Blythe’s daughter is Gwyneth Paltrow.

        • Gwynn Rogers says:

          Hmmm, I thought Gwyneth was from England… I’ll be darn. Not all of Wales is beautiful rolling hills. Some of Wales is pretty bleak with big old craggy cliffs. Conwy is a unique walled town with a distinctive castle. Wales is diverse as is most of the UK countries.

  9. Forgive the miswording above. I wish I could go back in and edit. It’s just difficult to see type on this tiny notebook computer screen; easier to see when comment is published.


  10. Stephen Tremp says:

    It’s officially the second half of A to Z. Time to catch that second wind, rest up on Sunday, then it’s that mad dash toward the finish line!

    Stephen Tremp
    A to Z Cohost
    N is for Numerology

  11. Marsha Lackey says:

    I once had a therapist with the last name Frankenstein. My first visit we joked about her name and mine: Lackey. She looked up from her paper work and laughingly asked, “What’s in a name”. Very appropriate. A family member married man last named Frank. They named their first son Harrison (Harry Frank). My mother worked in ticket accounting at Eastern Airlines and collected humorous names. Her favorite was Mr Bates, Mrs Bates, and Master Bates. There was a daughter as well. Working for a huge company for many years, gave me access to some winners too. I love your subject Gwynn, sir. I have often thought how could a parent do such a thing to an innocent child. Your message had me laughing, which is not unusual knowing you. I love your sense of humor so much. Your wonderful!!!

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Oh Marsha… that is hysterical… a therapist with the name of Frankenstein! Did she scare it right out of you? 😉 One woman told me of a family with the last name of Mus. They named their daughter, Mary Chris Mus!! People are plain crazy! Now the Harry Butz still makes me giggle!

      Thank you for commenting. You are such a sweet heart!!

  12. Alana says:

    I hated my name when I was young. No one could spell it rigt, and it was not a common name in my neighborhood. Not a good thing for a shy kid! As an adult, I’m more philosophical. And I’ve been told, time and again, “what a pretty name!”.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      I have heard the name Alana before and it is a pretty name. However, I definitely can appreciate what you went through. Now I’m used to my name. It is distinctive like me. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

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